Association of Mental Health Providers

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Call For Political Parties To Back A 10-Year Plan

In a letter that was hand-delivered to 10 Downing Street on Thursday 20th July, mental health leaders have asked Rishi Sunak to reverse his Government’s decision to scrap the 10-year Mental Health Strategy that was scheduled for publication this year.

The Association is one of over 50 signatories, which include a group of academics, health practitioners, charity bosses and ‘lived experience’ experts, supporting the MQ Mental Health Research letter and calling for action to improve mental health.

Read the full letter here:


Dear Prime Minister

Following our national celebration of the NHS on its 75th birthday, we are here to present a Report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood on Mental Health provision in the UK.

The NHS is not the preserve of any one political persuasion, and this Report is enriched by the help of professionals, academics, practitioners and voluntary sector organisations in the field of Mental Health who have no party-political allegiance. Their sole priority is to make Mental Health services the best they can be for the benefit of those who use them and those who work within the sector. We all believe that this is an ideal time to address one of the biggest threats our nation faces… for the benefit of the UK as a whole.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise in mental illness and the shocking gaps in service provision and research capacity rose to the top of the media agenda. Opinion that ‘the next pandemic will be in mental health’ is now commonplace.

However, as the immediate threat of Covid recedes; thanks in no small part to NHS delivery and the UK impetus behind the vaccine roll-out ‘media noise’ has not translated into affirmative action. Earlier this year, plans for a promised 10 Year Mental Health Strategy were abandoned in favour of Mental Health being ‘lumped in’ alongside a set of physical conditions in a new Major Conditions Strategy.

Far from achieving ‘parity of esteem’ with Physical Health, this reduces the status of Mental Health still further. Just as there are myriad physical diseases, there are multiple complex mental illnesses, deserving of their own comprehensive long term strategy. This was the clear view of over 5,000 individuals and organisations who responded to the Government’s Consultation on wellbeing but unless there is change to a strategy that would actually align with the Government new workforce plan, the Mental Health services will continue to suffer from:

  • Serious gaps in the workforce and in training and retention at all levels  including people opting to specialise in psychiatry
  • Short termism: late in the day clinical solutions preferred over the early and preventative intervention within schools and the community, that have potential to avert lifelong costs to the individual and society over a range of services
  • Stigma in all areas of life including employment and disparity in treatment options
  • Undue influence of current and future socioeconomic down turn
  • An inadequate research base with guaranteed and continued support from the Government to afford patients with a mental illness the benefit of a full range of diagnostic and treatment options.

No time is therefore better to plan for the next stage of NHS progression and that is why the authors of this Report, call for the adoption of a 10 Year Mental Health Plan, incorporating the following evidence-based recommendations:

  • Prioritising prevention and increasing public awareness
  • Facilitating early intervention and timely access to services
  • Promoting integrated, holistic services and addressing health inequalities
  • Guaranteeing sustainable funding for research, mental health services and workforce development
  • Growing the workforce and capacity building
  • Partnership working and dynamic collaboration.

In the NHS’s 75th year, we should all work together to bring Mental Health services and those who need them out of the shadows and into the light where all will benefit to the advantage of each family, each community and the wider society of which we are a part.

Signed by,


Lea Milligan

CEO, MQ Mental Health Research


Chris Martin

CEO, The Mix


Julie Bentley,

CEO of Samaritans


Andy Bell

Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health


Brian Dow

Deputy Chief Executive, Mental Health UK


Kathy Roberts

Chief Executive, Association of Mental Health Providers


Dr Laura Ajram

Chief Executive, British Neuroscience Association


Professor Kamaldeep Bhui CBE

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford


Professor Peter B. Jones

Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge


Professor Andrew McIntosh

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh


Professor Rory O’Connor

Director of Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab, University of Glasgow


Dr Elaine Lockhart

Chair, Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists.


Peter Hand

Royal College Psychiatrists


Professor Helen L. Fisher

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, and ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, King’s College London


Emeritus Professor Fraser Brown PhD

Childhood Development and Playwork Team, Leeds Beckett University


Professor Keith Godfrey

Professor of Epidemiology & Human Development, University of Southampton


Dr Julie Pearson

Senior Lecturer, St Mary’s University and owner of Inclusive Primary PE


Sharon White OBE

CEO School and Public Health Nurses Association


Dr Jackie Musgrave

Early Childhood at the Open University


Laurence Guinness

Chief Executive, The Childhood Trust


Emma Bayou

CEO, Miindfulness CIC


Joe Lowther



Saeed Atcha MBE DL

CEO, Youth Leads UK


Michael Folllett

Director, OPAL CIC


Dr Ian Cunningham

Chair of Governors, Self Managed Learning College


Professor Chris Pascal

Director, Centre for Research in Early Childhood


Karen Cooke

Programme Leader, Childhood and Youth Studies, UCEN Manchester


Jane Deamer

Development Manager, The Crysalys Foundation


Alicia Drummond

Teen Tips & The Wellbeing Hub for Schools


Mrs Arike Disu (Aiyetigbo)

Director, Fountain Montessori Pre-school Limited


Kate Day, Director

KRD Training


Dr Amanda Norman

Programme Lead Childhood Studies, The University of Winchester


Anna Hodgson

CEO, Clear Sky Children’s Charity


Liz Emerson

Co-Founder, Intergenerational Foundation


Liz Stockley,

Chief Executive, British Dietetic Association


Dr Vicky Randall,

Senior Fellow, University of Winchester


Lorna Lewis,

Board member, British Council for Therapeutic Interventions with Children


Dr Estelle Mackay

Independent Public Health Nutritionist


Jean Barlow, Founder

Jean Barlow Training Solutions


Dr Aric Sigman

Health Education Lecturer


Jyles Robillard-Day

CEO, National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society


Dr Sarah Williams

Principal Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University


Viki Veale

Senior Lecturer, St. Mary’s University


Dr William Bird MBE GP

CEO Intelligent Health


Sophia O’Neil

Research Writer, Play Therapy UK


Dr Julie Wharton SFHEA

Senior Lecturer, University of Winchester


Caroline Wright

Director of Early Childhood, Bright Horizons.


Nicki Morley

Managing Director, SENTRAL Villages


Peter George

CEO, Enigma Wellness


Mark Hardy

Chair, Association of Play Industries (API)